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|The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Afristone(m): 9:35pm On May 31, 2013|
Ane Ebira, we are an ethno-linguistic group in Nigeria. Many of us are from Kogi State, Kwara State, Nasarawa State, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and Edo State. Okene is said to be our administrative centre, the Ebira-speaking people in Kogi state, are not far from the Niger-Benue confluence.
Origin of the Ebiras
An elder beats the Agidibo to salute the spirits (Photo by EbiraView) Ebira Tao is the largest of the several Ebira groups found in about 8 states of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Our sister groups are Ebira Koto and Ebira Mozum (Kogi state), Ebira Panda, Ebira Oje/Toto (Nassarawa state), Ebira Etuno (Edo state), Ebira Agatu (Benue state) Ebira Oloko (Ondo/Oyo/Osun states). The history of our origin were those compiled from Attah Omadivi and other Ebiran Clan Heads by the British colonial administrators in early 20th century. Our elders, through oral tradition, trace our descent to Wukari (in the present Taraba state) where we were an integral part of the Kwararafa confederation. In about 1680 AD, our ancestors (along with the Idoma and Igala) migrated out of Wukari over a chieftaincy dispute. Our people later split into various groups and settled in different locations between 1680 and 1750 AD. We Ebira Tao first sojourned with the Igalas at Idah but later crossed the River Niger and settled at Ebira Opete located in the vicinity of Upake in Ajaokuta LGA.
Our 'father' of Ebira Tao who led us to this premier settlement in Ebiraland was Itaazi. Itaazi had five (5) sons who all later migrated from Ebira Opete and were the founders of the various districts in Ebiraland. The children and the districts they founded are Adaviruku/Ohizi (Adavi), Ododo (Okehi), Obaji (Eyika), Uga (Okengwe) and Ochuga/Onotu (Ihima). His daughter named Ohunene settled in Eganyi district. Members of the various clans in Ebiraland are descendants of the children of Itaazi. Ohizi had five children who are progenitors of the five traditional Adavi clans named after them. These are upopo-uvete (Apasi), Uka, Idu (Aniku), Adeyika and Uhwami. A migrant group from Eganyi known as Ezi-Onogu clan is also found in Adavi. The sons of Ododo who are the ancestors of Okehi clans were Okovi Oviri and Enwgukonyai. Obaji the founder of Eika had ten children named Ohiaga, Iyewe, Avassa, Ehemi, Anchi, Epoto, Egiri, Ubobo, Ogu and Eyire. Uga of Okengwe had two sons whose children constitute the present Okovi and Agada group of clans. Due to a sizeable concentration of other Ebira clans in Okengwe district, they formed a socio-political coalition known as Ada-ehi. Ochuga had six children and their descendants make up the six clans in Ihima. These are Emani, Oha/Idu, Ohueta, Ure, Ohongwa and Odumi. The seventh clan is Akuta who migrated from Okengwe. Though Itaazi's daughter named Ohunene was the founder of Eganyi, not all the clans there are descended from her. Eganyi clans are Ede, Esugu, Eheda, Ogu, Onoko, Idu, Anavapa and Ogodo. The Aningere who are skilled craftsmen are found in all districts. They are, however, more concentrated in Okengwe and Adavi districts.
We constitutes one of the ethnic groups in the Middle Belt zone of Nigeria. But, however, did not evolve a centralized form of leadership until the advent of the British colonial authorities, which brought together the various Ebira clans under the leadership of Attah Omadivi in 1902. therefore, the year 1902 marked the evolution of a monarchical form of administration and the gradual development of central administration in Ebiraland.
Location and size of the Ebira community
Ebiraland is a small hilly inland area that stretches roughly for twenty three kilometres west of the Niger at Ajaokuta and thirty two kilometers southwest of the Niger-Benue confluence. The range of hills occasionally rises to six hundred and sixty seven metres above sea level. Ebiraland, the home of Ebira Tao, is in the central senatorial District of Kogi state. It has a landmass of 3,426 km2. The 1991 national census puts the population of the area 722,032. Another national head count was undertaken in 2006. The provisional figure of 884,396 released by the National Population Commission (NPC) is being disputed. It is distributed as follows: Okene LGA (320,260), Adavi LGA (202,194), Okehi LGA (199,999), Ajaokuta LGA (122,321) and Ogori Magongo LGA (39,622). Our communities which started as tiny villages have joined together as near towns, gradually and progressively expanding towards one
another with Okene as a city in modern times. Ebiraland thus presents an aerial view of one huge near urban settlement with intervening barriers.
Our Culture and Administration
We are republican by nature, outspoken and very hard working. Farming and cloth-weaving are occupations for which Ebiras are well known. we are presently spread in five Local Government Areas of Kogi state namely: Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Ajaokuta and Ogori-magongo. A sizeable number is of our people are found in Lokoja Local Government Area, Ondo, Ogun, and Oyo states. Our paramount ruler is called Ohinoyi of Ebiraland. The Pre-Colonial Ebira community was essentially segmentary. It consisted of five principal clans among several others, namely, Okengwe, Eika, Okehi, Adavi, and Ihima. The respective priests (heads) of these clans were known as Ohindase, Adeika, Ohiomahi, Asema and Obonbanyi. Each clan was selfgoverning and did not regard any other as superior to it.
Significantly, the clan was the main unit of political organization. The post of the clan head was normally conferred on the oldest living male member of the clan. His religious duties and disciplinary powers were, however, limited to his own family. His political influence was quite small and although he presided over the meetings of his clan, his judgement was determined largely by the consensus of opinion of the elders. The administration of all the clan heads constituting a community in Ebiraland lay in the hands of the elders, influential individuals and the chief priest (Ohinoyi).
Economically, the clan head held in trust for the clan, part of the income from all the clan lands, such as the produce from palm oil and locust bean trees,during the pre-colonial period. Also, the leg of whatever game that was killed was given to him, which he shared with the kindred heads.We so much cherish our traditional festivities in spite of the infiltration of some negative tendencies in recent times.
Our people were used to coming together in the face of crisis. Thus, in moments of war, we come together as a united front to ward off the incursion of the enemy. Indeed, our people have built strong confidence inour warfare and ‘superior’ weapons – bows and arrows. The invasion of Ebira country by the Nupe (1865-1900) did not make them doubt our military superiority. Our Nupe invaders were successfully resisted by our people under our amiable warrior leader who later became Attah Omadivi. The Nupe invasion was organized in the form of raids for slaves. But the our people were soon to realize that our warfare and ‘superior’ weapons could not defend us against the British super superior weaponry in 1902.
In 1895, an outstation was placed at Kabba by the Royal Niger Company and a fort was built there by Captain Turner, an officer attached to the Niger Constabulary. On 1st January, 1900, Frederick Lugard took over the government of Northern Nigeria from the Royal Niger Company and hoisted the British flag at Lokoja. Kabba was formed into a province which included the Akoko, Kukuruku and Ebira countries, and was administered from Lokoja, which was also the headquarters of the protectorate of Northern Nigeria, with Sir William Wallace as its first Resident.
In 1902, a small military escort led by Mr. Malcom and Lt. F.F.W.Byng-Hall sent into Ebira country was seen by the our people as an incursion. They refused to meet with the British demand for the supply of food, seeing this as a direct insult on their persons. Mr. Malcom and his party, outnumbered, were attacked with arrows by the Ebira and escaped by a night march to Kabba, arriving the next day. The British soldiers used this as casus belli and marched on them with fire arms. The Ebira country was subjugated and pacified. The resident in Ebiraland described the result of the expedition asfollows: “The Ebira were no doubt severely punished during the expedition and I now find them very afraid of the whiteman”
With the defeat of our people, the British then imposed their rule on us, politically uniting the various clans by force. During the British occupation of our land, Agidi, one of the notable personalities among the Ebira, led an armed resistance against any form of British rule. In 1902, he and his men attacked the small British group led by Mr. Malcom, the political officer. Who barely escaped death. After this event, Ebiraland was declared a land of ‘savages’ and Mr Malcom ordered a detachment of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF) to sit among our people in order to ‘tame’ them.
In 1903, a punitive expedition under Major Marsh, Lieutenants Sparrenbarg, Moran, Byng-Hall, Gallway, Smith, Oldman and Captain Lewis, was organized to call Agidi to order and to establish permanent peace in Ebiraland. In this expedition, the British received the whole hearted cooperation of Omadivi, who was the representative of Ohindase Abogunde – the chief priest at the time. Omadivi, like Ohindase, was from the Okengwe clan.
Omadivi supplied vital information, most especially on how to capture Agidi who was his political rival. In fact, both Omadivi and Agidi were notable personalities or influential individuals in the Ebira of that time. While the former was loyal to the Chief priest, the latter was not. By 1904, Ebiraland was fully pacified and Mr. Morgan, the Resident of Kabba province, was able to say with confidence that the Ebira people now feared the ‘‘whiteman” and were at “peace with each other”.
Our Cultural Festivals (Eche-Ozi Ete)
We have several annaul cultural festivals and among the prominent ones are 'Echane', 'Eche Ori' and 'Ekuechi'.
This is an annual masquerade festival celebrated in rotation from one district to the other in Ebiraland (between April–June). In the past, it was only during the period of the festival that betrothed girls were given away in marriage to their suitors. That is why the festival is called 'Eche-ane' (women festival). Ebira Masquerades or Mascots, though carried long canes, came out primarily to entertain people and received gifts in return. It is regrettable that this very popular and interesting festival has been bastardized and now a source of constant breach of peace. We want to use this media to enlighten our youth that a people without a culture is like a people without history, our traditional festivities if handled with humility and the necessary modernity could become a world class tourism that can take us to the world map of hospitality, hence improved Ebira economy, employment and influence word over. This we can not achieve except we shun violence within ourselves so that our name EBIRA shall come to bare fruit in heart of mankind. As we invite them to join in the celebration of our unmatchable heritage Ebira Kaneri.
We are farmers and farming is the pride of the Anebira economy, 'Eche Ori' is our new yam festival celebrated only in two districts of Ebiraland. These are Ihima and Eganyi. During the festival, traditional worshippers make sacrifices in the secret groove of 'Ori' (deity) high up in the mountain to show gratitude for its protection and provision of bounteous harvest. The worshipers carry long canes with which they whip one another in turns without anyone exhibiting any sign of pain. This is a mark of strength or manhood. Another important attraction of the festival is the delightful 'Echori' music in which female singers feature prominently. Only after this festival can one eat or sell new yams in our markets as it is a taboo to do so before the festival in Ihima and Eganyi.
Ekuechi (traditional night masquerade)
This is a night masquerade festival which marks the end of the Ebira calendar year and the beginning of a new one. Ododo is popularly acclaimed to be the initiator of this masquerade festival. The 'Akatapa' masquerade heralds the beginning of the festival often saying "Irayi ododo osi gu, Irayi akatapa osi gu eeeh! Osa yeeeh!" which means "the year of the Ododo has ended; the year of Akatapa has ended. Here is another year". The festival begins with a festival eve in which folk singers (omikede) perform to the delight of both men and women. The following day, the real festival in which masquerades sing and dance to entertain people from dusk to dawn takes place. It is restricted to men and few special women called onoku only so all and majority of our women stay indoors throughout the duration of the festival. All dead relatives are believed to return to earth on a visit this night, so, women prepare delicious 'Apapa' (bean read) and he-goat meat for the visitors. The women also, at times, leave monetary gifts with the men for the visiting dead relatives. Trust men, the meals and gifts are properly and neatly delivered to the beneficiaries who only the men have the privilege of seeing and interacting with, that night.
Traditional Marriage in Ebira Land
Ebira people, mostly living along the River Benue plain down and beyond the River Niger, are a tribe found in Kogi state in Okene, Okehi, Adavi and Ajaokuta local government areas and in some parts of Nassarawa, Plateau and Edo states.
The word Ebira means good behaviour when translated literally with ethics and hospitality as compliments. The unique features of the Ebira culture with its ethnic aestheticism, are appreciated most in the event of traditional marriages.
Victoria Mayaki sheds more light on this. When a man sees a lady he intends to marry, he discusses his intentions with her, who, if interested, tells him to bring his people to express his intentions to her parents.
In respect to the Ebira tradition, the man does not walk to the parents of the woman to disclose his intentions; his parents or elders mostly the women do this by going to the lady’s parents to introduce themselves and also to inform them of their reason for coming to the house.
After this is done, the parents of the lady then conduct a thorough investigation on the upbringing, background, family history and so on, of the intending groom to unravel any history of madness, terminal diseases or criminality in the man’s family. This is with a view to deciding whether or not to give their daughter’s hand in marriage to a family with a tainted reputation in the society.
After the research, if their findings are appreciable, an approval is given to the man to visit the bride-to- be from time to time to further get to know themselves properly.
A date is later picked for the formal introduction of both families and this is called “Ise Ewere” which literally means what has been in secret is now in the open. During the celebration, there is usually the presentation of gift items made by the family of the groom to the family of the bride.
The gift items usually include; about 42 tubers of yam, dried fish or bush meat, 10 liters of palm oil, a bag of salt, assorted wines and kola nut. The groom may also decide to present two wrappers to his would-be bride but this is optional.
On the day of introduction, it is not necessary that the man attends the occasion as his family members do the necessary things on his behalf. The bride’s family in turn, entertains the groom’s with food and drinks. The families interact with one another and formally introduce every member of both families.
After this is done, the date for traditional marriage is then fixed. The tubers of yam and other items brought are distributed to neighbours and members of the extended family no matter how small. Much significance is given to this to ask for their prayers for a happy marriage as well as to ensure the acknowledgement of the community that the lady now has someone she intends to get married to.
The amount to be collected as bride price is also agreed upon by the parents of the bride and it depends to a large extent, on the financial strength of the man. Apart from the bride price, there are other things like “ozemeiyi” that is “I am attracted to her” which a certain amount of money is attached to, and “otanuvogei” that is “joining hands together”. There is also “idoza” that is “farming price” paid to the bride’s family because Ebira people are predominantly farmers. In the olden days when every young man had to farm, the groom and his friends appoint a day to farm for the father of the bride but these days because most young men don’t farm any longer, they pay money instead.
On the day of the traditional marriage, women in the man’s family are seen singing and dancing carrying tubers of yams on their heads to the lady’s house. The singing and dancing continues at their arrival at the lady’s house where the ceremony kicks off. Other items to be taken are cans of palm oil, groundnut oil, dried fish, some clothing materials in some boxes, jewelries and other things for adornment of the lady.
The ceremony is usually colorful with display of dances by maiden groups mostly the bride’s friends and by women groups. A religious leader and the parents of the couple offer prayers for them to bless their marriage and a certificate is thereafter given to the couple by the religious leader to acknowledge their marriage.
The lady is thereafter, escorted by her friends and other women to her husband’s house with her belongings.
This article was copied from Wikipedia edited and modified and there is still room for further modification and referencing
Oyikete Ebira, by S.S. Salami(edited by Isaac H. Jimoh).
The Evolution and Development of Central Administration in Ebiraland, 1920-1997. By Victor Osaro Edo
Ethnologue report on Ebira language
PanAfriL10n page on Ebira.
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|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Yujin(m): 10:17am On Oct 05, 2013|
Thanks for sharing this very detailed history of the Ebira people. I must say the Ebira people seem to posses more of the southern Nigeria cultures than that of their present region- the masquerades, the style of marriage and New yam festivals among others. It is interesting I must say.
Now, I will appreciate it if someone can shed more light about the Ihima and Eganyi clans. The article states that they are a migrant clan and it is solely among them that the New Yam festival is celebrated. Pls, where is their location in Kogi(Ebiraland) and where possibly did they migrate from? Thanks in anticipation of a tasteful response.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Nobody: 3:27pm On Oct 05, 2013|
Move this thread to the culture section.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by fagbalex(m): 4:26pm On Oct 05, 2013|
thanks a lot for this. i really admire ebira people most especially there gals. they're very nice beautiful and friendly. how i wish i marry from there. Galaxy Galadima.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Wsdm: 5:14pm On Oct 05, 2013|
There is nothing as sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet as for one to know his historic background. May God Almighty increase you in what ever pleases you for this wonderful piece.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by PrincessB1(f): 11:23am On Mar 12, 2015|
Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece, It was helpful.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by okorune(m): 9:24pm On Jul 10, 2015|
@OP thank u 4 the exposit. It's very educative. I must confess u have taken Ebira history 2 d many Ebira sons and daughters who hitherto were lazy 2 research on this. Their will be no excuses on not knowing ur history with d claim that "I hardly visit home". Good Job. May Allah reward u abundantly. I am a proud Ebira guy.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Nobody: 9:59pm On Jul 10, 2015|
One of the useless tribe that make up Nigeria.
Please let the sun rise.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by tpiadotcom: 7:35pm On Nov 26, 2015|
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by luvcherish(m): 12:03pm On Feb 20, 2016|
This is informative. God Bless You.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by bashiru640(m): 8:17am On Aug 08, 2016|
ebira,egbura and etuno are one and the same language.they are the three major egbira as we know,there is no such egbira as egbira Toto or panda and mozum they are all egbira koto.egbira koto is scattered around 5 state which are know as follow fct abuja,kogi,nasarawa,Benue,Niger state.egbira koto have two prominent kingdom igu and panda kingdom.because of the fearless might and brut and Fulani jihadist name them koto in Hausa it means strong.cause the egbira were not conquered by the Hausa Fulani jihadist.egbura koto is the largest of all egbira but are scattered around.we speak one and the same dialect.to show u how the creation of state separate us from koto karfe local government through adageri u can walk to Toto and take a boat to opanda which is umasha in nasarawa local government we are all know are egbira koto when I go online and see article that there is egbira Toto egbira opanda ebira agatu and mozum the writers are naming them after there town.Toto is know as ogje.koto karfe is know as igu,opanda or umasha is the name.the egbira from ebira land refer to the egbira in koto karfe ,umaisha,Toto and mozum as egbira iresunyi orbmost recently egbira koto on the other hand we the egbira koto refer to them as egbira irehi.egbira wabi rehi in.is just like calling the ebira of egbiraland as follow egbira ihima,ebira eganyi,ebira eika ebira adabi.they are all know as egbira okene.. pls readers be enlightened there is no egbira Toto or egbira mozum or panda or egbira agatu we all egbira koto
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|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by bashiru640(m): 8:44am On Aug 08, 2016|
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by bashiru640(m): 8:49am On Aug 08, 2016|
Names of 247 Egbura Towns and Villages in Alphabetical order.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list but what I have been able to gather so far. Anyone who has an idea of any town or village that has been omitted, repeated or not spelled correctly will do well by drawing our attention to such.
Ababa, Abaji (Igabazi) Achabo, Achara, Adabo, Adabode, Adabohi, Adagima (Adajima) Adamogu, Adangere, Adausu, Adimbeku, Adode, Adodu (Adadu), Aduho, Agaga, Agbba, Agbodo, Agenyezi, , Agitata, Ahere, Ahinza, Ahoko, Ahutara, Akabu, Akpaku, Akpasu, Akoro, Akolo, Akpanya, , Akpanga, Akpari, Akpo, Akpogu, Anyazi, Arikazi, Arapo, Aseni, Atako, , Atakpa , Autara, Avuya, Awhouri
Bezte, Biroko (Ibiroko), Boboro
Ebete, Edara, Edeha, Edere, Edegaki , Edekakpo, Edimose, Edudu, Eehaha, Eganuma, , Egbaki, , Egyeha, Ekeleb, Ekpariku, Ekpuruka, Ellenoko, Emani, Enegbachi, Enyezi, Enyise, Enyiusi ,Esikaku, Etagi, Etako, Etegi, , Etoto, Etutu, Ette , Ezono
Gamakpara,Ganaja (Iganaza), Gegu-Beki, Gegu_Egba, Girinya (Ogirinya), Gitata
idare, Idere, ,Ido, Idu, Iganuma, Igbogo, Igi, Igu (Koton-Karfe), Igwa-Pati, Ihamkpe, Ijiho, Iherenidu, Iherenikwo, Ihyawha, Ikara, Ikumoh, Imozu-ete, Inyori, Iraki, Ireda, , Iregba, Iredeya, Irenodu, Iresenyi, Iresuhugbe, Iribago, Irubozogyi, Itako, Itanahu (Tanahu), Itazenyi, Itu, iyegi, Iyrenokwo, Iziho, , Izono,
kanaworo, Kara, Katubo, kokoto,Kelebe, Kpakpazi, kumarupa, Kuru, kyareku,
Nwori, Nyaba, Nyezi
Obahu, Oboku, Ochakurede,Oda (Otunchi), Odama,Odama-Iruku, Odenyi, Odu-akpa, Odumose, Ogande, Ogase, Ogate, Ogba, Ogbagidigbo, Ogbangede , Ogbonka, Ogbonzayi, Ogbendu, Ogbere, Ogbongboro, Ogbokunu, Ogu, Ogye (Toto), Ogya, Ohegye, Ohere, Oherehu(Umaisha) Ohimozo, Ohizi,Ohuma, Ohwa, Okaita, Okanga, Okangba, Okase, Okasemiya, Okatakpa, Okatubo, Okenyihu, Okete, Okobi, Okofi, Okokoto, Okuru, Ohege, Okpaka, Okparekye, Okpodo, Okpozogi, Okpwuseki, Okuru, Okusa, Okuwa, Okwa, Okwo, Okya, Okya-Okuku, Okya-Owa, Omatani, Omara, Omoko, Omoku, Onyaba, Onyimowa, Onzo, Opanda, Ordumi,Orehi, Oreza, Oribago, Orobomi,Oromun, Orudu,OSEWU, Osewu-owa, Osoku, Osuku,Otondo, Otudu-uku, Otenise, Owara, Oyanba, Ozahi, , Ozenikukatakpa, Ozi, Ozinaku,Ozireku, Ozono, Ozugbe
Papaze, Panda, Pati
Rebochi, Ribago, Robomi
Sensenyi, Shege, Sheriya, Sofiyo (Shafa Abakpa), Shafa Egbura
Tanahu, Tazenyi, Tuturu,
Ugwo, Ugbaka, Ugya, Uhono, Uhwa (Angara), Uhyana, Umozu, Urakpami, Utu, Uwah
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|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by schoolboij(m): 9:45am On Aug 08, 2016|
please there are no indigenous ebira people in ondo, osun, oyo and ogun states.
they are all immigrants here just like igbos. get your facts right.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by oweniwe(m): 9:52am On Aug 08, 2016|
You are very very stvpid
Why abuse another person's identity? If people abuse your identity, you will start crying that tribes don't like you.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by bashiru640(m): 12:52pm On Aug 08, 2016|
Encompassed by undulating hills on the eastern flank, and bordered on the south west by the Benue-Niger confluence, the Igwu people of Koton Karfe are referred to as “people of the two rivers.”
It is bassically a fishing and farming community, which also had a rich history of iron smelting. But a title holder in the Igwu kingdom said “nobody wants to be a blacksmith these days,” so the huge deposits of iron ore beneath the foothills remain largely untapped. Sadly, their iron smelting heritage for which they became popular has almost gone into extinction. No single blacksmith was found in Koton Karfe, when our reporter sought to see one.
The Ohimegye ofIgwu (Koton Karfe), His Royal Majesty Alhaji Abdulrazak Gambo Isa Koto, said Igwu kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms in North Central Nigeria, spanning over 400 years. He proudly said Igwu, which means “enclosure” in Egbira, is the cradle of Egbira civilization, adding that it was the Hausa who called the place Koton Karfe, probably because of the abundant deposits of iron ore around the area. He said bows and arrows and spear are the isignia of the Egbira culture because of its rich history in iron smelting and gallantry in warfare.
According to him, the people migrated from Yemen and came through Kanem-Borno empire, then down to Kwararafa kingdom. The Ohimegye said they later left Kwararafa for Idah. “At Idah our leader contested for the throne but lost out. Our leader, Ohemi Ozi Egye, from whom we derive the tittle Ohemigye, meaning Ohemi the son of Egye, became uncomfortable with the selection process and then he left with his people. Colonialists put this time at 1740 but I think it was earlier than that. We crossed the River Benue to Onyoka, but there was an outbreak of disease and we proceeded.”
He said succession tussle arised later that led to the split of Egbira, with one group going to Opanda, Nassarawa Toto, and the other group then left Ugbaka for Girinya, where they found a new settlement. The eloquent chief said it was at Girinya that two brothers, Ohemi Oduniya and Ohetenye, went on a hunting expedition and discovered their present location, which he said was very strategic in those days of tribal wars. During such wars, he said, the people who lived around the Igwu mountains burrowed holes into it, forming caves and veritable hiding places at the time of aggression from external forces.
He explained that the Egbira at Opanda in Nassarawa Toto, Nassarawa State, the ones in Okene and in some parts of Edo State share the same linguistic and cultural affinity, even as there are some dialectal differences. He gave an example of how the Koton Karfe Egbira is spelled differently from the Okene Igbira, insisting that Egbira history and culture still remains one monolithic core, especially linguistically.
The royal father said it is unfortunate that iron smelting is going into extinction because it has been part of the lives of his people for the past 300 years, adding that warfare instruments like spears, arrows and cutlasses were smelted at Koton Karfe in large quantities and it was a source of economic power for the people.
The Ohimegye promised that he would do everything possible to revive iron smelting, which he said is the heritage of the people. “The amount of iron ore deposit here is far more than what is at Ajaokuta. Even the content of our water here is reddish because of iron ore,” the chief said.
He lamented that despite the town being an ancient one, and having played its part in the establishment of Nigeria, the hilly, sleepy town still lacks social amenities.
“There is complete absence of social amenities here. The roads are bad,there is no pipe borne water and yet we are surrounded by water. There is also lack of federal government presence, apart from the Nigeria Prison Service, which is a colonial heritage. We don’t even have a commercil bank here, despite our strategic location,” he decried.
Another thing that is of great concern to the royal father is the fact that his people’s fishing and farming occupation is being endangered by the dredging of the River Niger. “We are blessed with fishing ponds and fertile land but the dredging of the River Niger is destroying our fish ponds and farmlands, thereby taking away the livelihood of most of my people,” he said, urging the government to find ways of revitilising the ponds and compensating the people for their lost farmlands.
Our reporter observed that the ancient town, with sprawling rusted zinc houses, is divided into two by the Abuja-Abaji-Koton Karfe-Lokoja highway. The hilly side, with rising and falling landscape forming the centre of the town while the swampy side is an evergreen grove of bananas and sugarcane.
The Ohimegye said while the mountain side provides a good reserve for wildlife, the swampy area, stretching down to the two rivers, provides fertile soil for cultivation of crops and abundant ponds for fishing.
Koton Karfe is a historical museum of sorts, steep in historical monuments like the grave of the founder of the Igwu kingdom Ohemi Ozi Egye, and the Esi-Koko caves as old as 400 years. The ancient town exudes an awesome ambience.
There are other fascinating sites in and around the town like the Murtala Mohammed bridge, the Igbade cool water spring, which cascades from a height of over 30 metres and flows gracefully down the River Niger.
The Ohimegye’s palace is an edifice that outsizes the entire town but at the same time depicts the imensity and significance of the old kingdom. Inside it too, there are artefacts that will not fail to thrill a visitor. A set of big drums, called tambari, lurks in the corner of the watchtower of the palace and Alhaji Dauda Makaido Madaki, Ondaki Ogbani of Koton Karfe, said the Igwu kingdom type of tambari is unique, adding that in those days when the drums were beaten at night then war was on the verge of breaking out. He however said that nowadays, when the tambari is beaten, it is either on the eve of sallah or to announce the return of the Ohimegye from a journey.
The Ohimegye also said the Igwu kingdom has a cultural festival that is celebrated in December to commemorate the kingdom’s resistance of Fulani invasion. He said the Akuki festival is celebrated every year to show the fighting prowess of the people. “Nobody conquered us. As blacksmiths, it was easy for us to repel their attacks,” he added.
He, however, said that in modern times, Igwu people have co-existed peacefully with Fulani, Hausa, Yoruba, Bassa, Gwari, among others, for the past 300 years.
According to him, the Igwu kingdom extended beyond Abaji, which was run like a vessel by the Igwu chiefs but with recent boundary adjustments, the Koton Karfe area has been reduced.
“Initially Koton Karfe was to be part of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) when it was created in 1975 but we opted out because we don’t want to lose our heritage,” insisting that even now that the old kingdom is still grappling with development challenges, the Igwu people do not regret that decision because they still have their land intact.
The ruler aid by the time colonialists came, the Igwu kingdom was an already established system that was similar to that of the emirate system in the Hausaland. He said it has been a relatively peaceful kingdom because of the rotational principle operated by their forebears.
“Our forefathers included the principle of rotation in the kingdom. The stool of Ohimegye is rotated within two wards and we have eight ruling houses in Koton Karfe,” adding that there are over 200 communities under the kingdom, being ruled by Ohinoyis (village heads).
He said the place is not only the cradle of Egbira civilization, it also produced pioneer teachers in Northern Nigeria and has produced other prominent sons in different disciplines and careers. He said the late Isa Koto was one of the pioneer teachers in Northern Nigeria who later became an ambassador in the First Republic. He mentioned other illustrous sons of Koton Karfe, who included General Tunde Ogbeha, General Chris Ali, former Chief of Army Staff, former Comptroller Gen. of Prisons, Musa A. Egu, the late Alhaji Usman Angulu Ahmed, who was Minister of Police Affairs in the First Republic, Alhaji Liman Umar, former SSG in the old Kwara State, among so many others. He, however, regretted that since the late Ahmed was made a minister in the First Republic, no Igwu son or daughter has been appointed a minister.
For Muhammadu Shuaibu Tatu, the Ozeremi Ogbani of Igu land, it is regrettable that nobody wants to go into blackmitting again and the age long trade is going into extinction. He said the young consider iron smelting old- fashioned and not a lucrative business to undertake. He however said that the traditional institution is doing all it can to encourage the practice of the age-long profession of the people inorder to preserve the heritage of the Igwu kingdom.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by bashiru640(m): 1:03pm On Aug 08, 2016|
MEMORANDUM OF REQUEST FOR BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT TO MERGE TOTO AND UMASHIA DISTRICTS OF NASSARAWA STATE WITH THEIR KITH AND KIN IN KOGI STATE.
Three constitutional conferences where held in 1954, 1957 and 1958, which resulted in the granting of independence to Nigeria in 1960. These constitutional conferences particularly those of 1954 and 1957 discussed the serious fears and concerns of the minorities in Nigeria and demanded that these fears and concerns be addressed. These demands resulted in the setting up of Willinks Commission in September 1957.
It can therefore be seen that as far back as 1950s and before Nigeria was granted Independence in 1960, the problems, fears, and concerns of the minorities had been expressed and tabled.
The people of Toto and Umashia districts (Opanda Kingdom) in Nassarawa State and those of Koton Karfe district (Igu Kingdom) in Kogi state are the same and one ethnic group and tribe. They have been together as the same people from time immemorial up to the time of Kwararafa Empire. We have the same culture, speak the same language and have the same occupation. There is no socio-economic geographical barrier between us.
At the beginning of the British colonization of Nigeria, these two kingdoms were grouped in one administrative area called the Kwara Federation.
However, in a twist of what we call an unfortunate event, the colonialists created provinces and these people who have been together became divided. Toto and Umashia districts became part of Nassarawa province while Koton Karfe was part of the Niger province. In 1967, states were created and the two kingdoms which are of the same people were forced to continue to endure their separation in Kwara State and Benue Plateau State respectively.
Consequent upon this, series of attempts were made for us to be grouped together but this did not yield any result. In 1991, there was a submission of a request for the two kingdoms to be merged and be part of Kwara State. This again yielded no result.
This memorandum is for the honourable delegates to reconsider our request to be merged together again as one entity in Kogi State, just like we have Idomas for example, as an entity in Benue State.
PEOPLE OF THE AREA
Igu and Panda kingdoms are made up of the following people who have lived together for thousands of years.
1. Egbira Koto
2. Bassa Komo
As the maps attached show, there is not a single geographical barrier between Toto and Umashia district of Nassarawa state and Kogi Local Government area of Kogi State.
DISADVANTAGES OF BEING DIVIDED
1. There has been continuous minority status of these group within the two states. As a result, the people do not have a voice whatsoever.
2. Our political wishes are not adequately articulated in these states.
3. A gradual loss of connection with one’s ethnic group has a possibility of language extinction amongst the group.
4. Insignificant and ineffective representations leading to non development of the two kingdoms have been the order of the day.
5. A sense of alienation from one’s ethnic group as a result of artificial state boundaries.
ADVANTAGES OF MERGING
1. There will be no political, economic and artificial administrative division.
2. There would be an enhancement of our languages and cultural heritage.
3. There would be a sense of belonging once we are brought together as a group.
4. There would be a protective feeling of a sense of inclusiveness instead of a negative sense of exclusiveness.
5. The advantages of the economy of scale that goes with a larger grouping especially in population and possibly voting power in a democratic society.
Consequently, we the inhabitants of the areas stated above, honestly request that the existing Umashia Development Area and the remaining area of Toto Local Government be merged with Kogi State. We also request that Toto and Umashia administration areas each go into this merger as Local Government Areas while Koton Karfe and Girinya Development Areas of Kogi State should each be considered as Local Government Areas. In Other words there would be four Local Government Areas in the immediate and contiguous merging area.
We are emphasizing very strongly and recommend that since we have the same cultural and linguistic affinity, we should be placed together in the same administrative area of Kogi State.
This will help to eliminate the present wide defective structural imbalance inherent in the socio-political life of our people in these delineated state structures, which has been a situation of unfairness, injustice, dissatisfactions and marginalization our people in the two States. This has also gone a long way to affect our people from effectively participating and benefiting in the affairs of the two State’s administration in a democratic Nigeria.
In view of the forgoing, we appeal to the honourable delegates to consider our request based on the fact that it is our wish as a people of a common historical, cultural, ethnic and geographical affiliation, to be grouped together in one contiguous administrative location so that we can reap the benefits of our abundant human and material resources.
As a final note, we hereby request that the distinguished and well respected men and women of this conference be sympathetic and appreciate our plight and grant us our request.
Signed as true representatives for and on behalf of the people of Umashia, Toto and Koton Karfe of Nassarawa and Kogi States respectively.
Isa Ahmed Bukar
Turaki of Opanda
Abubakar G. Usman
Garkuwa of Igu (Kotonkarfe)
Waziri of Opanda
Chairman of Shafa Abakpa Dev. Association
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Owoplenty(m): 1:05pm On Aug 08, 2016|
But another legend have that you guys migrated from Egypt to your present abode, besides no apparent linguistic and traditional evidence that will give credence to ebira connection with the mentioned tribes
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by onagon7: 12:45pm On Apr 15, 2017|
Ebira (Ebura) are the original people called Hebrew who scattered all over the world, but many people dont know about this history. i will soon tell you about this history.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by naijaking1: 1:37pm On Apr 15, 2017|
Nigeria is such a small place.
Many tribes are related to each in some politically incorrect way or another. Igbos and Igalas are said to be related, and that's understandable. Can somebody tell me why many Ebira names, cultures(marriage rites, etc), farming, and even masquerades are very identical to Igbos. Language students will also know that in addition to Akan, Yoruba, Efik, Ebira and Igala belong to the same family of languages with Igbo, etc.
--Looking for an academic discussion here not some childish tribalistic rants.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Jay542(m): 8:12am On Oct 10, 2017|
At least they make Nigeria look beautiful
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Jaymaxxy(m): 9:48am On Oct 10, 2017|
My ex is an Ebira girl. My best friend is an Ebira man. My uncle married an Ebira woman. I served in Adavi Local Government which is an Ebira land. I love the Ebira community but they can be stubborn and violent sometimes.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Naajjii: 4:18pm On Nov 29, 2018|
naijaking1:Don't get thing wrong , igbo are only related to those Igalas at the border with Igbo that's where it stops not the mainstream Igala culture.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by ZKOSOSO(m): 4:34pm On Nov 29, 2018|
Ebira people are very racist in nature.
We want them to have their own state and stop occupying people land.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by ZKOSOSO(m): 4:36pm On Nov 29, 2018|
Ebira in Akoko Edoland are migrants. We are dealing with the situation currently. Very soon they shall be cleared out.
We don't want any Fulanis friends around us.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Daviddson(m): 4:42pm On Nov 29, 2018|
Ebira people are a fantastic people to associate with. The meaning of the name, Ebira (good behavior), alone is intriguing.
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Nobody: 4:46pm On Nov 29, 2018|
Ebira in kwara state? Abeg where for kwara
|Re: The History Of Ebira People (itopa Ane Ebira) Modified By Aliyu Abdullahi Onumo by Quality20(m): 8:27pm On Dec 08, 2018|
ebira are quite a religious and sociable set of ppl
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